Sports desk, June 27: Defending champions Germany suffered a shock elimination from the World Cup after losing to South Korea in Kazan.The four-time winners crashed out in ignominious fashion – conceding twice in injury time as they pressed for the goal which would have sent them through.
For the first time since 1938, and the first time ever since group stages were introduced, Germany are out in the first round.
The world champions are gone. For the fourth time in five tournaments the defending champions have failed to make it out of the group stages.
Germany’s 2-0 defeat to already eliminated South Korea has ended their hopes. They dominated the second half but were unable to find the goal they needed.
In an astonishing and enthralling end to the match, Kim Young-gwon’s 92nd-minute goal – which was initially ruled out for offside before being awarded after a video assistant referee decision – left Germany on the brink of elimination.
Ju Se-jong launched it forward where Son Heung-min tapped into an empty net to score the second.
That prompted jubilant celebrations from the South Koreans, while some Germany fans inside the shocked stadium were left in tears.
It is the first time since 1938 a West Germany or the unified Germany team has not advanced beyond the first section of the tournament as Joachim Low’s side finished bottom of Group F.
Sweden topped the group with Mexico second and South Korea third.
Manager Low, who took Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil four years ago, will face strong questions over his selections both for this match and this squad.
He left out Manchester City forward Leroy Sane out of his squad, despite the 22-year-old playing a major role in helping City win the Premier League title, while Mario Gotze, who scored the winner in the 2014 final against Argentina, also missed out.
Against South Korea, Low made five changes, including recalling Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and dropping Thomas Muller, although the Gunners’ midfielder did not justify his selection with a poor performance that repeatedly saw him give the ball away.
However, Germany had been poor throughout the tournament, losing 1-0 to Mexico in their first match and needing a last-minute Toni Kroos goal to beat Sweden 2-1.
Low has been in charge of Germany since 2006, taking them to the final of the 2008 European Championships when they lost to Spain and then to become world champions in 2014 as they thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final before beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.
However, questions will remain over Low’s future as well as the international careers of some of their key players.
Neuer is 32, Sami Khedira, 31 with both Ozil and Marco Reus 29 and this may have been the final matches at a World Cup finals in their illustrious careers.
South Korea went into the match with no points from their opening two games after losing 1-0 to Sweden and 2-1 to Mexico.
However, they had a mathematical chance of qualifying for the last 16 for only the third time in 10 competition appearances, although they needed Mexico to beat Sweden.
The Tottenham forward also lashed a volley wide when it was goalless, before being booked in the second half as referee Mark Geiger thought he had dived in an attempt to win a penalty.
Even though the score in Ekaterinburg ended South Korea’s hopes of going through, they still sensed a memorable win over Germany.
The team ranked 57th in the world achieved that victory thanks to the two late goals, both of which were celebrated as if they had qualified themselves.
A 1-0 victory would have been enough to qualify but instead it is Sweden and Mexico who go through.
Mexico had started the day top of Group F, but despite losing 3-0 to the Swedes they still qualify, albeit in second spot.